40 Best Country Albums of 2016

Miranda Lambert, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price and more of the year's best

The Record Company, 'Give It Back to You'
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30/40

30. The Record Company, 'Give It Back to You'

The debut album by L.A. blues trio the Record Company delivers a third-rail shock, zapping new life into a genre that often lumbers along on the same shopworn chord progressions. Not so on Give It Back to You, where the Record Company channel the distorted feedback of the White Stripes and Led Zeppelin at their most thumping. It's modern blues – "Contemporary," according to the Grammy category in which the album was just nominated – for a new era, where maligning mean-eyed women for your heartache doesn't resonate like it used to. In dynamic lead single "Off the Ground," singer Chris Vos lays the blame for his troubles squarely at his own feet, howling to "let the truth be told." J.H.

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